Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles
Tropar Of Pentecost, Tone 8:
Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hast shown forth the fishermen as supremely wise, by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them, didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of mankind, glory be to Thee.
Kondak Of Pentecost, Tone 8:
Once, when He descended and confounded the tongues, the Most High divided the nations; and when He divided the tongues of fire, He called all men into unity; and with one accord we glorify the All-Holy Spirit.
Tropar - Tone 4
With thy virtues, as with the rays of the sun, thou didst enlighten the unbelieving philosophers; and like the most radiant moon shining on those who walk at night, thou didst drive away the darkness of unbelief. Thou didst bring the empress to faith and didst denounce the tyrant, O divinely elect bride. O blessed Catherine, with desire thou didst make haste to the heavenly bridal chamber, to Christ the most comely Bridegroom, and by Him has thou been crowned with a royal crown. Standing with the angels before Him, do thou pray for us who keep thy most honored memory.
Kondak - Tone 2
O ye who love the martyrs, raise up an honored chorus in godly manner; honoring the most wise Catherine; for in the arena she preached Christ and trod upon the serpent, putting down the knowledge of the rhetors.
Saturday - Vigil at 5pm.
Sunday - Divine Liturgy in English at 10am
Sunday - Akathist Hymn and Hours at 915am
Other services as scheduled below
Inquirers most welcome!
2198 NE Coachman Rd Unit D, Clearwater FL 33765
"If you only knew how great a blessing comes from the Divine Liturgy, then you would collect even the dust from the floor of the church to wash your faces with it..."
St. Gabriel the Confessor and fool for Christ
His Eminence Nicholas
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Christ is in our midst!
The importance of vigil.
The primary reason for serving in English is to understand the services. Why is this important? Because the services grant us peace and are full of grace, teach divine truth, fill the mind with light and alight the heart with divine love for God, the Theotokos and the Saints.
While this is true for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, I am not referring to the Divine Liturgy here. Once one becomes familiar with the Divine Liturgy one can benefit whether it is in English or not, as variable parts of the Divine Liturgy are limited. What is important is that the Epistle and Gospel readings and sermon are understandable.
Let us recall what is repeated in Genesis: And the evening and the morning were the first, second, third… day. Thus the day begins in the evening. Our liturgical services begin with Vespers.
What remains of liturgical worship in what was once Western Christianity has been, for the most part, reduced to a eucharistic service. The evening and morning services are not frequently served. The non-liturgical communities of these latter days know of no such services at all. They have not idea how impoverished they are.
Sadly, we are imitating them, despite the richness and fullness of the services. Whether it is because of the circumstances of modern life, such as our distance from the church, we must no allow this to be so.
As this world distances itself from God and embraces evil, we will, necessarily, become distinct. This is the natural consequence of being Orthodox in this world in which we live. It takes courage, faith, commitment.
One of the ways in which we are different - besides fasting, which, in a world in which veganism is growing in popularity, is not the distinction as it was a generation ago - is our sense of liturgical time.
This sense can be a bit of a challenge as we do not live in a town with a church nearby, in which we can hear the church bells ringing in the morning and in the evening calling us to prayer. So we must make it a point to be aware of the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and the feasts celebrated throughout the year.
The liturgical day begins in the evening. Thus our Sunday services begin on Saturday evening. The practice of the Slavic churches is to serve Vigil, which combines Vespers and Matins. It is a longer service - it is a vigil after all! Yet not nearly as long as it would be in a monastery (although there really should be no distinction). The real problem is how we thing about time. We don’t think about Saturday evening - or the eve of any Divine Liturgy - as a time to go to church to prepare for the Liturgy. But this is exactly what we must accustom ourselves to do.
Liturgical time is important. We attend Vigil to prepare for the Divine Liturgy, particularly if we desire to partake of the Holy Mysteries.
One reason why many do not attend vigil is that it a long service, with many changeable parts, which they may not understand. This is no longer true.
The Vigil is so beautiful, profound, enriching, enlightening. It is full of praise and repentance, magnification, edification. It is a necessary component of the Orthodox Christian life if one truly wants to learn about and live one’s faith. The services in general, and vigil in particular, teach us dogma, the lives of the saints, the meaning of Holy Days - just come to vigil on Nativity Eve and see! Each week, each season, we enter into deeper into the mysteries of God according to the level of our spiritual maturity.
And once we become accustomed to listening to and praying the service because we understand it, my, how time flies.
Back in 1985 I was part of an octet visiting churches from coast to coast. The most memorable impression I have is when we were taken to a parish church in New Jersey where they were serving vigil. The church was full. It could hardly have been fuller for Liturgy. Men, women, children, a young mother, swaying with a baby on her shoulder while singing in the choir. It was beautiful.
What is the best way to pray during vigil? Standing with our eyes closed so that we may attentively listen to what is read and chanted. If you grow weary it is acceptable to sit, again with eyes closed, and listen with attention.
Once, while still a student, I attended vigil even though I had a moderate fever. I stood in the back right of the church and before I knew it the great doxology was being chanted. I had fallen asleep, standing there, motionless. My fever was gone.
Let us learn to think of time differently, liturgically. It will take effort. Adjustments will have to be made, which may not be easy for many. But it is something which we must do to grow in the faith.
Saturday, December 2 - Confession at 4:30pm. Vigil at 5pm.
Sunday, December 3 - The 26th Sunday. The Forefeast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Akathist Hymn at 915am. Hours. Divine Liturgy. Vigil at 5pm.
Monday, December 4 - The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Hours and Divine Liturgy at 930am.
Wednesday, December 6 - Vigil at 6pm.
Thursday, December 7 - The Great and Holy Martyr Catherine. Hours and Divine Liturgy at 930am.
Saturday, December 9 - Confession at 4:30pm. Vigil at 5pm.
Sunday, December 10 - The 27th Sunday. Kursk-Root and Novgorod Icons of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign’. Akathist Hymn at 915am. Hours. Divine Liturgy.
Wednesday, December 13 - Moleban and Akathist to St. Catherine at 6pm.
Saturday, December 16 - Confession at 4:30pm. Vigil at 5pm.
Sunday, December 17 - The 28th Sunday. The Great and Holy Martyr Barbara. The Venerable John of Damascus. Akathist Hymn at 915am. Hours. Divine Liturgy. Children’s Day.
If you live in the greater Tampa Bay area and are interested in Orthodoxy or would like to help in establishing a traditional Orthodox parish in English
please call Fr. Stephen Zaremba 727-239-9186 and leave a message or e-mail me at email@example.com.
I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks be to God our community is slowly growing. Since our ways are not God’s ways we are traversing an unexpected path, currently serving at our new location as St. Catherine's Orthodox Church. Our previous location was at St. Andrew’s Russian Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg, and it proved quite beneficial for both our St. Catherine’s Mission and the St. Andrew’s parish. Having moved to our new parish in late October, it is more than apparent that God’s providence is truly remarkable.
First a quick word about our past host parish, St. Andrew’s. It is a Russian speaking community. The church is beautiful, the choir is excellent, the services served properly. While most of the vigil and Sunday Divine Liturgy are celebrated in Church Slavonic, English is used based on attendance. The Epistle and Gospel are always read in English and there is sermon in English. If you are familiar with the Divine Liturgy you will feel very comfortable. We are extremely blessed and thankful for our past time at St. Andrew's. Fr. Igor and the parishioners of St. Andrew’s have made us feel quite welcome indeed,
We previously celebrated the Divine Liturgy in English on Saturdays at St. Andrew's, followed by a Bible Study and lunch. This started off as quite a small group but it has grew so that we usually had about 20 or more stay for our class. Not bad for a Saturday morning!
Currently, we celebrate the Divine Liturgy in English on Sundays, which is again, followed by a Bible Study and lunch.
Fr. Stephen Zaremba
We are a mission. Our purpose is to make traditional, apostolic Christianity, today known as Orthodoxy, available to those who are seeking it. Many are seeking it not quite knowing what it is. If you are looking for God - look here. If you are looking for stability, where doctrines do not change with the blowing of the wind - look here. If you want to truly learn how to worship in the spirit and truth as taught by the holy Apostles - look here. If you are are not sure just what it is that you are looking for - look here. We don’t make things up as we go and we don’t change with the times. Truth is truth. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The world is going through a time of considerable turmoil. No one knows what the future holds. The Orthodox Christian Faith has withstood the bloody persecutions of ancient Rome, the tribulation of the Arian, Iconoclastic and other heresies, the onslaught of the Persians and Moslems, Communism and everything else that the Adversary has thrown at us through the centuries. But as our Lord promised, the gates of hell have not prevailed. Regardless of what the future may hold, the Orthodox Faith will remain like bedrock unto the Lord returns.
Now some may think that Orthodox Christianity is similar to Roman Catholicism. While there may be some external similarities, Roman Catholics and Protestants, with their now 30,000 denominations, are far closer to one another than they are to the Orthodox. While this may seem very wrong, Protestantism is a reaction to Roman Catholicism and as such, while they certainly have different beliefs and solutions, they have the same mindset.
Orthodoxy is quite different as it has resisted the temptation to be altered by the philosophy of the day through the centuries. Orthodoxy is what is and has been believed by everyone everywhere from the beginning. No change. No compromise. It is manly - men love it. It is not a soft faith. It challenges each believer. And no, it is not too much for women and children. Orthodoxy is beautiful, full of joy and light, gentleness and compassion.
The following was a letter to the Roman Emperor Hadrian (d.138AD) from the Athenian Orator Aristides in which he depicts how the Early Christians lived. This is how Christianity conquered the world. This is how it will do so again...
“The Christians know and trust God…They placate those who oppress them and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies. Their wives are absolutely pure, and their daughters modest. Their men abstain from unlawful marriage and are free from all impurity: If any of them have bondwomen or children, they persuade them to become Christians for the love they have toward them; and when they become so, they call them without distinction brothers…They love one another: They do not refuse to help the widows. They rescue the orphan from him who does him violence. He who has, gives ungrudgingly to him who has not. If they see a stranger; they take him to their dwellings and rejoice over him as over a real brother; for they do not call themselves brothers after the flesh, but after the Spirit and in God…If any one among them is poor and needy; and they do not have food to spare, they fast for two or three days, that they may supply him with necessary food. They scrupulously obey the commands of their Messiah. Every morning and every hour they thank and praise God for His loving-kindness toward them…Because of them there flows forth all the beauty that there is in the world. But the good deeds they do, they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude, but they take care that no one shall perceive them. Thus they labor to become righteous…Truly, this is a new people and there is something divine in them.”
OUR NEW ADDRESS
Fr. Stephen, Priest
Brett Mourer, Warden
2198 NE Coachman Rd Unit D
Clearwater FL 33765